SPAAR response to Star Tribune article: St. Paul Realtor group withdraws as a partner in project to expose racist covenants. Published May 3, 2021.

SPAAR - 05/04/2021

SPAAR actively supports the wide range of efforts to erase the effects of systemic racism from housing in our communities. That is intrinsic to our culture and a core value of the Association. We are extremely proud of our record in this effort.

Realtors® every day are champions in efforts to increase homeownership among diverse populations and they are leaders in their communities in promoting rights provided by the Federal and State Fair Housing Acts.

An article about SPAAR’s decision to pause its active partnership with a local organization called Just Deeds appeared in the Star Tribune on May 3. What the article missed was the opportunity to emphasize the continued good work of SPAAR and its members in promoting homeownership for all. Furthermore, the article omitted that SPAAR continues to support Just Deeds’ core objective in removing racially restrictive covenants from deeds and titles. That’s the right thing to do and we have never varied from that position.

SPAAR has been and continues to actively support organizations that are doing important work to end racial disparities including being a lead sponsor of Mapping Prejudice. In addition, SPAAR is a supporter of communities and organizations that focus on preserving and rebuilding communities including Saint Paul’s Rondo Community, Upper Northside Business Association, Longfellow Community Council and Twin Cities United Way.

SPAAR had multiple reasons for pausing our Just Deeds’ endorsement at this time, which include:

  • members weren’t given the opportunity to vet the content and resources prior to launch of the Just Deeds website
  • staff and members had concerns about some of the word choices and inferences on the website
  • the project scope quickly grew beyond the initial agreement of removing racially restrictive covenants

SPAAR acknowledges the unfortunate real estate practices that contributed to disparities in rates of homeownership by people of color and will continue to acknowledge and collaboratively work to correct these past wrongdoings through ongoing efforts.

Beginning this week, on May 6, SPAAR is leading a four-part book discussion on the Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. This book investigates how federal policy imposed racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide, which restricted homeownership and wealth building. Members are encouraged to participate. It is another way SPAAR continues to show its support and involvement in this important work. SPAAR is committed to continuing the fight for justice and equity

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